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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.  

    August 10, 2013
    11:00 - 1:01pm PDT  

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good saturday afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc. here's what's happening right now. >> no, i don't think mr. snowden was a patriot. i called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before mr. snowden made these leaks. >> speaking out, president obama promising new steps to reform the controversial surveillance programs. is this a win for leaker edward
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snowden? we'll have a live report. also, presumed guilty, forced government cuts are devastating public defenders and their low-income clients. why this new normal may be unconstitutional. from here i am able to control it. let's see how this does. no problem. >> and the helping hand, that's pretty cool, huh? self-taught teenage inventor created a prosthetic arm at a fraction of the cost of others. he'll join us live, today's "big idea." first at this hour president obama and first lady michelle obama are aboard air force one. they are on their way to martha's vineyard where they will vacation for the next week. the president made one final stop in orlando this afternoon to speak at the disabled veterans national convention. >> at every generation there are
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americans like you who stand beside her and guide her and protect her. we need to make sure we've got the resources, the budget s our veterans deserve. >> the orlando event comes on the heels of yesterday's wide-ranging news conference at the white house. the president unveiled the series of proposals aimed at restoring public confidence in the government's secret surveillance programs. plan that the president said was in the works before edward snowden leaked secret nsa documents to the press. >> there's no doubt that mr. snowden's leaks triggered a much more rapid and passionate response. i actually think we would have gotten to the same place and we would have done so without putting at risk our national security. >> nbc's kristen welker is live at martha's vineyard where the
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president is expected to arrive shortly. kristen, good to see you. >> reporter: good to see you, too, craig. >> what can we expect from president obama after his vacation? >> reporter: well, craig, i think you're going to hear a lot more about the nsa, as you heard the president say and as you just mentioned. he mapped out sort of his strategy moving forward, announced the fact that there need to be steps taken to enhance transparency of that controversial surveillance program. so he really started to enumerate what he wants to see happen, yesterday during that news conference, take a look at some of what he mapped out. working with congress to reform the nsa program that collects telephone data, mandating more transparency by the court which approves the surveillance, and creating a team of private citizens, including civil libertarian activists to review the program. i have been speaking to political analysts who say a couple of takeaways from yesterday. one is that to some extent the president's hand was forced by
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edward snowden. he was getting pressure from the right and from the left to really review these surveillance programs. the other takeaway here, craig, is that this is significant what president obama announced. he said these changes may have happened, would have happened anyway if it weren't for edward snowden. either way what the president announced yesterday suggests that there will be a difference, a change in how the government surveils the american public so that's significant. reaction has come in. it was swift, as you can imagine, started pouring in before president obama even wrapped up his remarks yesterday. some republicans saying that he was being too soft. representative peter king saying he was giving too much credibility to edward snowden and the other side the aclu welcoming the president's announcement but saying a lot more needs to be done. craig? >> kristen welker on martha's vineyard on a saturday afternoon thank you. the president was asked point blank yesterday if his views on edward snowden have
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changed. >> has your mind-set changed about him, is he now more whistle-blower than a hacker? is he a patriot? >> no, yox mr. snowden was a patriot. as i said in my opening remarks, i called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before mr. snowden made these leaks. >> joining me, republican congressional reporter ed o'keefe, and "chicago sun-times" lynn. the president and chuck todd, the president denying snowden forced the issue, saying he was planning all along. julian assange laughed off the statement in which he said in part, "the simple fact that without snowden's disclosures, no one would know about the programs and no reforms could take place." lynn do you buy the president's argument this was the plan all along? >> i don't buy that he was going
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to do anything this fast and he more or less said that. i don't even know why he had to venture in thatter toto er tterg a claim that could be so easily debated and, well, diluted. we know senator feinstein, senator, the head of the intelligence committee, is now going to have hearings on these issues. she wasn't having them before. you know, the two senators who are most -- one of the senator's most active, senator ron wyden, he knew about it but he was handcuffed because he got information in classified briefings. part of what i just wonder sometimes is why president obama made this own little kerfluffle on his own. just leave the claim of prior intent on itself. >> the president in a bit of a no win situation.
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president obama has not gone far enough in going after snowden. he said the president should have gotten angrier when chuck todd asked that question. the president is feeling heat from civil liberties groups, the aclu said the reforms he's proposing are weak. who are president obama's natural allies in coming up with a system that balances security with transparency? >> that's interesting. i think for one, it's probably the chairman of the intelligence communities, dianne feinstein and mike rogers, various members who sit on the committees. probably congressional leadership, john boehner, nancy pelosi, harry reid, and they've also received briefings in classified settings and yet understand that the rank and file are very concerned about it. look at that vote that happened a few days before the recess began in the house that would have restricted the nsa's ability to track those telephone records. what did mike rogers, the
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intelligence community chairman say? he said when we come back in the fall we have to reauthorize the intelligence community anyway, we'll work this into it. what the president is doing here is getting ready for that reauthorization, and trying to present some ideas, some of them he presented have to be codified by congress and likely are going to be seen as acceptable. i know there are some democrats who like to go a step further when it comes to the secret courts and perhaps have the judges seek senate conffirmation. we'll see if that comes up. otherwise people generally okay with the fact that the president is now putting forth new proposals. >> lynn, this is what politico had to say about the nsa reforms. "never mind that much of his new proposal would require action by a gridlocked congress, the same congress obama blamed for inaction on his domestic agenda. obama made it pretty plain in his own words that the proposal was aimed, like the press conference, at public relations more than policy-making." they're essentially saying this is a pre-vacation feel good policy announcement by the white house, it has no chance of
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actually delivering anything. is that too cynical a takeaway, lynn sweet? >> oh, i think it was too -- it was just a little not how i see it because so much of what a president does is calculated to have a good public relations, including the string of speeches he made in recent days on his middle class agenda, even though that seems stalled in congress. i think what's interesting here politically is that this isn't just a case of blaming house republicans in this case for maybe not getting anything done. his own democratic base is divided on this, and as i'm sure ed knows from covering congress, you have progressive democrats, very concerned about civil liberties who have a lot of privacy issues that vote in the house that ed was talking about, you have an unusual alliance between liberals and tea party activi activists, they come to the
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issues from different ways but there is this interesting alignment on these surveillance issues. >> ed o'keefe of "the washington post," lynn sweet of "the chicago sun-times" thanks to both of you. >> thank you. big break, big break, police make a new discovery in the frantic search for a mississippi california girl, the latest on the man underhunt for the alleged abductor and suspected killer. ex-humaning the truth, researchers will dig up secret graves at a florida reform school. what is behind the new efforts to uncover this school's deadly history? also the american town where a 4-year-old, there is he, the 4-year-old who is now mayor again. you're watching msnbc. my mother made the best toffee in the world. it's delicious. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love.
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moment that you can become buried back there in the woods, never to be seen again. >> that was arthur huntley there, former student at florida's dozier school for boys. that school closed in 2011 for budget reasons, but also closed after revelations of widespread physical and sexual abuse. this week, florida's legislature voted unanimously to exhume the school's grounds where there's already evidence, evidence of about 100 graves, most of the victims were black, and they were from ages 6 to 18. msnbc.com's jermaine lee has written extensively about the story joins me live now. the severe abuse allegedly started in 1914, the school closes a few years ago. how was it able to stay open for
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so long? >> in 2011 the justice department found egregious practices of neglect and oversight. for decades in this small rural school, that's where the throwaways went, where the criminals that didn't have a strong foundation, petty thieves, sent to this reform school and disappeared. >> a reform school, just black students? >> by no means, black and white students alike, most of the remains were of black students but across the black and white kids there are these horrible tales of being shipped off to the white house they called it and whipped with paddles and whipped and there were segregated rooms where this stuff was administered. >> how large is the network of survivors that's come forward? >> there are hundreds of students who at some point or another in the last decades have attended the school but dozens have come out now and formed different groups where they're advocating on getting their story out, advocating for the
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families who don't know what happened to the boys that were shipped off to the school so many years earlier. >> this week florida's legislature voted unanimously to allow the researchers to exhume the grounds. what are they expecting or hoping to find? >> they're hoping to finally identify some of the remains and make sure the family is given notice about what happened to these young boys but more than that, there may be other graves, because the cemetery that they found is on the black side. as we know for decades, blacks and whites, wouldn't have been buried together. there may be a cemetery of poor white boys on the ground. they're hoping to one, identify who is out there and also find any of the remains. >> mariana, florida, is where this went down. did this community not know any of this while it was happening? >> i think it's a matter of not know, not care. you talk to former students they say this town was benefiting from it because people would have been working at the school but also this town is the site of one of the most horrific
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lynchings in history, claude neil was tortured and beaten and later the body delivered to the alleged victim's family. whether they turn the other eye or retire to the more recent black eyes they were seeing in the news, who knows. >> are there thought to be other schools like this one out there, whether in florida or somewhere else around this country or is this thought to be an isolated incident? >> so far this story ritzs to the top. we talk about the schools and work camps for years and years before these prison systems were established people who were picked up fortress passing or other crimes were shipped off to the labor camps and reform schools so there's a rich and long, deep history of this happening, and are there others that were as notorious as this, i'm not sure. >> what about the paper trail? is there a substantial paper trail that you uncovered? >> to some degree. there are records of the school that detail 31 of the deaths but they're very few details, some
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died of pneumonia. one was murdered by other students, there are drownings, one that died from an apparent mule kick. that's it. not much there. >> msnbc.com's trymain lee, thank you for your reporting. >> thank you. lattes, frappuchinos and guns? gun owners took their weapons to starbucks friday in a show of support for the chain's firearm policy. despite pressure from activists, starbucks has abided by open carry laws which allow licensed gun owners to take their weapons into stores in 20 states but in newtown, connecticut, area starbucks closed five hours early in a show of respect for victims of december's school shootings.
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that by the way is mayor robert tuft starting off our platical pl political playground. this week he was reelected mayor of dorsett, minnesota. mayor is not a formal government position the 4-year-old does like all politicians, have an agenda. he wants to raise some money for the ronald mcdonald house charity. he also wants to get his town a new welcome sign. after speaking in orlando, florida, president obama will head to martha's vineyard for an eight-day vacation with his family which inspired us to take a stroll down memory lane for a look at how past presidents have spent their vacation. bill and hillary clinton scooped out the local ice cream shop in edg edgartown, massachusetts, back in 1997. this is president george h.w. bush reeling in a big catch in the florida everdelayeds, to have been a start of the crazy sock craze. and president jimmy carter
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welcome back to msnbc. i'm craig melvin. here's a quick look at some of the other top stories making news right now. four bodies have been pulled from the wreckage in connecticut where a small plane crashed in a residential neighborhood in east haven yesterday. family member has identified two of the dead as former microsoft exec bill hennesgad and his teenaged son, said to be touring east coast colleges when their plane went down, two children, ages 1 and 13, who were inside a home at the time of the crash are also believed to have died. heavy rain is causing dangerous flooding across much of the midwest. stalled front dumped as much as 17 inches of rain on missouri, kansas, and tennessee. meanwhile in colorado, heavy rain stranded drivers near denver, turning a highway into a wall of waters y as you can see there, one person was killed. an update on nelson mandela. according to his youngest
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daughter, the former south african president's health is improving. she says he's more alert and can now sit up for minutes at a time. the 95-year-old has been in the hospital for two months now. let's turn to a deepening crisis in the courts, where the sequester is now decimating the federal public defender's program, making it even harder for a poor defendant to get a fair trial. msnbc's ari melber explains. >> reporter: it's been called shared sacrifice. >> the sequester was meant to be something so bad that no one would allow it to happen and i think part of what we're learning is that we're in a new normal. >> reporter: that new normal for our nation's courts? a crisis of justice. in march, sequestration swept $350 million from under the courts. defender services are operating under a $51 million shortfall this year alone. public defenders are facing double and triple the cuts as their opponents across the
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courtroom. "huffing post" justice reporter calls the public defender system sequestration's biggest victim. >> it creates an unequal system, federal public defenders going on furloughed days and going up against federal prosecutors. >> the western district of texas in february the public defender's office faced a 9% pay cut. in march the office was notified it had to cut an additional 14%. the result? case delays, layoffs for a third of the defenders and a 10% salary reduction on top. meanwhile, the number of cases isn't letting up. it's projected to top 13,000 this year. >> and you see sort of multiple layers of injustice, where people are funneled into a system because they don't have economic opportunities. then once they're in the system they don't have adequate defense because there is insufficient spending for the public defenders that would provide them with adequate defense in that system. >> reporter: the real impact on the ground isn't shared either.
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it's black defendants who overwhelmingly are denied the equal representation they're required to receive under law. black defendants comprise just 19% of clients who can afford to hire their own if sequester is the new normal this new imbalance could ultimately prove unconstitutional. >> joshua du bois, former head of the white house office, author of a recent "newsweek" cover story we've been talking about a lot, the fight for black men and dawn porter is here as well, producer and director of the documentary "gideon's army," big thanks to all of you for joining me on a saturday afternoon. let me start with you with regards to our justice system specifically if the sequester cuts are not rolled back, what then happens? >> in october, then these cuts will get more severe and some public defender's offices, one out of three and sometimes one out of two, half of defenders being taken off the table, off
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the playing field while on the other side, prosecutors, because of an arcane rule, because of how the doj is funded, will have many more resources, totally unfair. >> i'm glad you mentioned that. in the simplest of terms explain to us that rule, why that has come to be? >> sure. >> despite the sequester, prosecutors seem to not be suffering the same funding cuts. >> the sequester is an across the board cut. doj has about $27 billion from prosecutors to investigations, fbi is up in that. on the other side, public defenders come out of a court budget that's only $7 billion a year. when we talk about the sequester being equal, it is not, because those bigger programs have a lot more leeway. the staff of a public defender office as our reporting shows is about 90% of the budget. so what you're cut something just people. that's why chief justice john roberts, conservative republican apointee said you can't cut the courts the way you cut other parts of government because we're made of people and it's people who are feeling the brunt
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of this. >> joshua, study by the aclu took a look at the staggering racial bias, arrest for marijuana possession specifically. the aclu found blacks are four times as likely to be arrested for possession than whites. how do you change the system where many jurisdictions, police are inventivized to make arrests for minor offenses like pot? >> the problem with the cuts it's throwing the american system of criminal justice and indigent defendants under the bus, and it's not saving any money at all. >> right. >> as ari knows we guarantee the right to an attorney and if we don't have a public defender we have to hire them a private attorney and that costs so much more money than these public defender services so we're not saving any money at all and perpetuating the same problems you just talked about. >> dawn in your film "gideon's
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army" you take a long, hard look at among other things the staggering workload of public defenders. how does that affect the quality of representation? >> you know, i always say to people imagine you had 500 people whose cases you represented at one time which is the situation in miami. what we're seeing with sequester in the federal system is now what the state public defenders have been saying for most of their careers. >> just to jump on the point about costs. we have a system where if you can't afford counsel, you get a public defender. if you can't afford bail, you sit in jail until your time comes up. >> absolutely. >> this sequester which was supposed to save money is doing those two things wrong. it's keeping people in jail who are still innocent until proven guilty and then it's costing extra, and one more point i want to make. when i worked at the public defenders in manhattan, what you had was everyone who was rounded up the night before who couldn't afford a lawyer. you walk into that room and it's
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mostly young, black men andmost ly minor offenses and mostly nonviolent. it turns your stomach to look at how the system operates and what the sequester is taking those rooms and packing them with more people and adding costs, and so i appreciate that the chief justice has spoken out as i mentioned. there are other good conservatives who have spoken out against this. it's not a partisan issue but it is one while not set up to be racist is racist in its results. >> that's absolutely right. >> 90% -- sorry. >> go ahead, josh. >> sorry, i was just saying it's really governing by temper tantrum. these cuts are ineffective from a policy perspective and costing taxpayers millions more dollars and they're immoral as well. craig, as we talked a lot about, this is the same population of people that's been disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system, convicted at higher rates and sentenced to longer terms for
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minor crimes. they've cost a lot of money and created more problems than they solved and it's time to do something about this. >> dawn you were about to say? >> 90% of the federal defendants are eligible for a public defender, 90%. >> it's a staggering amount. >> that means that nine out of ten people who are arrested of those 13,000 are poor people. so that tells you where we're policing, that tells you who's sitting in prison waiting for their day in court. >> we've been talking about the funding part of all of this. is this merely a matter of more money being made available or is there more to it than that? >> the policing tactics we have to look at. in the city where we live, we have stop and frisk as our preferred method of choice for arresting people, substituting for actual good police work, we are rounding up people. we are not solving more crimes. we are not keeping people safer. so maybe you don't care about civil liberties. i think most people do but maybe you don't but you probably care about cost and about effective crime prevention, and these
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policies don't do any of that. >> the center for justice, you're familiar with these statistics from their 2007 report, state prosecutorses' office budgets $5.8 billion, while state and local public defender office expenditures were about $2.3 billion. how does the financial advantage alone translate to the ability of a defendant to get a fair shake? >> well, one big area is investigations. what you have in the prosecutor's office is basically the police who, when they're doing their job right, are protecting us, fine. you go into prosecutions they are the de facto investigative unit and they have a built in advantage when they testify and they have the extra resources. the public defender side even the lawyer that you have as your documentary talks about, a constitutional right, even that person is being stripped down and pushed out of the office and in some cases fired so you lose
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your lawyer, waiting around and get a private one. you don't have that, let alone the other investigations. the other point where people should care we've heard a lot of talk, craig, about big government, the power of government, the danger of government, right? there is no greater power the government yields than the power to take you away from your family, detain you, put you in jail before you get your trial and ultimately convict you. that is the biggest government power, and that's why from our very founding although we haven't always do it equally, we've always had a concept here, a premise here that you have someone that stands up and defends you before the power of the government and what we're seeing right now is the sequester decimating that in a way which may ultimately prove constitutional. >> josh, last word to you, sir. >> we're talking about delays and public defenders having huge caseloads but we're going to start seeing some offices closing all together, as i understand it up to 20 field offices may soon be shutting down and these are often in rural areas where the populations are already facing tremendous pressures and so we're at a crisis point.
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i hope house republicans get it together and do something about this problem. >> joshua, dawn porter, thank you for coming in. appreciate all of your time and effort as well on a saturday afternoon. coming up, skyjacking. there's this new book that takes us, it really takes us to the golden age of hijacking when dozens of airplanes were being taken every year. we'll take a look at that and also look at why the government wouldn't stop these folks. also a hands-on teen. the high school inventor that created a brain-powered prosthetic arm. he did it all in his bedroom. there is he. he's 17 years old. he's joining us from houston because naturally he's spending summer at nasa. it's today's big idea. i'm beth...
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comes from easton lachippa at 17 years old has created an affordable, that's the operative word there, affordable robotic arm you can control with your brain. easton, let's start with the picture we showed you, you, president obama at the white house science fair and looks like the leader of the free world is shaking hands with your robotic arm. pretty cool. >> it was crazy to see something i've made shake hands with the president. >> how does the arm work? >> it actually is self-could self-contained, completely, all the electric ted robinsonics and batteries are within it. it uses small extremely strong motors to get strength and freedom out of it. >> i believe you've got there. there it is over your shoulder. >> yep.
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>> i cut you off. you were saying? >> the whole system to control your arm is with the brain. this is the headset you put on, reads about ten different channels of your brain and with that you can control any movement of the arm. the cool thing is that the arm can pretty much do anything a human arm can do, a variety of everyday movements and tasks and i'm adapting for sports, everyday use for in the house, at school, everything all around. >> are you able to demonstrate something for us now or am i putting you on the spot? is it not ready for use on live television? >> not right now, yeah. definitely it does work. you have my word. >> i understand that you came up with this idea when you were 14. is that right? what inspired you and how are you able to take it from idea to prototype? >> well my first idea was to create robotic hand that was controlled by a wireless control
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glove and me being 14 i thought how cool would that be to put on a glove and when you move your hand the robotic hand will mimic your movements. i thought that was cool and i started looking around and there was really nothing out there online, you know really out publicly to the world yet, and so that was kind of disturninging for me but then it was a challenge, a really cool challenge and so i started learning basic circuitry, electronics, programming to make it all happen and my first prototype was made, i had legos as supports, a lot of electrical tape and tubing as the fingers. >> you managed to use one of my childhood favorites as well a nintendo power glove. >> yes, not many people know about this but it's great to see that you know it. this is kind of revamped power glove. it has wireless radios, i tap into the sensors embedded in the finger tips so this controls the
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robotic hand. the cool thing is there's a feedback system on it, the user has a sense of touch on what they're grasping. if they're picking up an egg with this, they know how hard they're grasping. >> are you starting to hear from people that might benefit from something like this? >> yes, definitely. every day, the main application is definitely prosthetics. one of the big words you said was affordable. i was able to make the whole system material wise this whole complete robotic arm up to the shoulder where this whole brain of controls system for about $400. i bet most of the phones out there cost more than that so i'm definitely trying to give them as much functionality and for the lowest price point as possible. >> before i let you get out of here, as i nementioned, for lac of a better description you're at nasa camp and you've been working with a robonaut project i understand this summer. in the simplest of terms because
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we're laymen here, what is a robonaut? >> it's a robotic astronaut. it helps astronauts do everyday tasks on the international space station and could potentially one day replace astronauts on the whole. it's a really, really cool, exciting experience down at nasa and it's one of my dreams. it was very, very cool. >> easton lacappelle your work is cool. 17 years old. when you win the nobel prize come back and show it off. >> definitely. >> thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> folks do you have a big idea making a difference? do you know of a big idea making a difference? tell us about it. e-mail us to the address on your screen, bigidea.msnbc.com@nbcuni.com. could one of history's great mysteries finally be solved? after centuries of speculation a new excavation in florence,itily, might finally
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tonight the way we travel by air has been altered, perhaps forever. the plot apparently involved nine commercial jetliners bound for the u.s., from four major air carriers. tonight a total of 24 arrests have been made. >> flashback to 2006, when british officials thwarted a terrorist plot that involved using liquid explosives and
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detonators to blow up u.s.-bound commercial planes. one day later, u.s. officials banned all liquids, all gels, all aerosols from passenger planes and flying in this country has not been the same since. with the exception of the 2001 terror attacks, airplane hijackings in this country have been a rare occurrence but it wasn't always that way. in the late 1960s, there was an epidemic of hijackings in this country. in january 1969 alone, eight u.s. airliners, eight were hijacked to cuba. 35 for the year. here's nbc's david brinkley reporting on how airlines were coping with what was becoming routine. >> the airlines in that area have given all their pilots a set of printed cards with useful phrases in english and spanish for use when they're hijacked and the phrases include these, not enough fuel to reach cuba, i
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must open my flight bags for maps and i am proceeding to cuba as directed. >> brendan kerner is a contributing editor at "wired" and author of "the skies belong to us: love and terror in the golden age of hijacking." good to have you with me. first of all, how did the government and the airlines, how did they allow hijacking to become so commonplace? >> at that time there was really no security at all. you walk from the curbside off and on to your plane with no security check whatsoever, not showing i.d., not even having a ticket. the airlines feared if they started checking everybody people wouldn't fly anymore. >> little did they know i suppose. >> yes. >> there was also a cost i would imagine associated, some of the airlines conducted a cost/benefit analysis. >> that's right. they could spend millions for metal detectors or security personnel or endure 30 to 40 hijackings per year and comply
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totally, get the planes back, passengers were safe, much cheaper. >> your book tells the story of that time and what motivated hijackers and you really use one particular hijacking, western airlines flight 701, it was hijacked by roger holder and kathy kirco. what made this particular hijacking stand out. >> the biggest thing is they were able to hijack a seattle-bound flight to algiers and gain asylum there and they had a half million dollars worth of ransom. >> these characters were not terrorists. >> no, not at all. he was, served four tours in vietnam and she was working in a massage parlor in san diego and they met and decided to pull this off. >> you tracked down roger holder for the book. what happened to kathy? >> no one knows. she was last seen getting a fake
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passport in switzerland in 1978 and still a wanted fugitive by interpol. >> how were they able to do it? there were a lot of folks who were hijacking planes back then. when they got aboard the plane, what would the process look like? how would they go about doing that? >> there was a policy of total compliance by the airlines, flight crews were instructed do whatever the hijackers ask no matter how zany or bizarre. you could walk onto a flight with a fake bomb or jar of acid or anything and they were instructed to grant your every wish essentially. >> what finally led the government to impose the security measures that we started to see in the '70s, and why weren't those measures enough to stop what happened on september 11th? >> well there was a frightening hijacking november '72 where some hijackers threatened to crash a plane into a nuclear reactor in tennessee, so in '73 they started searching everybody but they let on private contractors handle the
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searchers. >> brendan koerner, the cook is called "the skies belong to us" and also at "wired" magazine, fantastic read as well. thank you for coming in on a saturday. it is a pretty interesting book. >> thanks for having me. up next, the fight over medical marijuana, while the feds increase crackdowns, more states are legalizing pot. we're going to take a look at what's going on here. lx the fight for $15. low wage workers rising up, demanding a paycheck they can actually live on. you're watching msnbc. [ male announcer ] what?! investors could lose tens of thousands of dollars in hidden fees on their 401(k)s?! go to e-trade and roll over your old 401(k)s to a new e-trade retirement account. none of them charge annual fees and all of them offer low cost investments. e-trade. less for us. more for you.
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danger, this as several embassies prepare to reopen. also the fight over pot. while the feds crack down on marijuana more states are legalizing it. what's going on here? and defending the dream. wrapper and activist talib qwali joins a three-week-long protest at the capital, using his name and music to fight stand your ground laws. first our political headlines saturday afternoon, president obama spoke to wounded veterans in orlando, florida. he is on his way for some relaxation and rest at martha's vineyard before leaving for vacation. announced plans to increase transparency and government surveillance programs, but insisted to nbc's chuck todd that edward snowden was not a catalyst for the move. >> has your mind-set changed about him? is he now more whistle-blower than a hacker? is he a patriot?
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>> no, i don't think so mr. snowden was a patriot. as i said in my opening remarks, i called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before mr. snowden made these leaks. >> san diego mayor bob filner will conclude his therapy earlier than anticipated his lawyers say. 14 women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. yesterday california senator barbara boxer penned an open letter calling for him to resign saying "the latest revelations regarding your behavior toward women recovering from sexual assault, women who desperately need our help, have shaken me to my core. bob, you've already hurt so many people. to avoid hurting your victims and the people of san diego more than you already have, you should step down immediately." and former congressman anthony weiner continues his bid for new york city mayor despite personal
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tru troubles of his own. weiner continues to be premsed on his relationship with his wife as witnessed during this exchange in brooklyn friday with voters and reporters. z>> is your wife still with you? backing you up? >> you bet. >> all right, guys, let's go out. >> what role will your wife play in the weiner administration? >> amazing first lady of the city of new york. all eyes are on iowa with big named democrats and republicans flocking to the hawkeye state. yesterday in des moines, emily's list hosted a form uhm for prominent democrats. they talked about women in politics. today in ames, conservative republicans including senators rick santorum and chuck grassley are aggressing the family leadership summit. santorum talked about the gop's need to shore up its base. don't agree with the
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establishment republicans that we have to change our policies to be more like democrats but we do need to change our tactics to be more like they are. >> nbc's casey hunt is in iowa now more. casey, we know that rick santorum won the iowa caucus back in 2012. is he still the toast of the town there in iowa among republicans? >> reporter: he certainly got a very warm reception. this is the family leader summit, this is his crowd, social conservatives, evangelical christians who embraced him as you said and actually led him to a victory in the 2012 caucuses. i'm hearing' a lot of buzz on the ground about senator ted cruz who is set to speak later. his plane was delayed so he'll miss the iowa state fair but he will come and address this crowd and you heard bob vanderplatz, leader of the group talking cruz him. >> another prominent republican speaking today i understand there in ames, iowa congressman
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steve king who recently landed in a great deal of hot water after saying that some immigrants here have calves the size of cantaloupes from smuggling so many drugs into the country. how was steve king received? >> reporter: king is of course treated like a pariah or was for that brief period of time in washington by other republican leaders. john boehner called him hateful. he got the opposite reaction, probably the warmest reception of anyone we've heard so far. they gave him a standing ovation, the cheers more sustained than they have been for anyone on the stage. >> who is that speaking behind you now do we know. >> this is the ongoing, this is joe miller, he's running for senate in alaska, or seems as though he's going to run for senate in alaska. there's, mark begich is up for re-election, considered a vul ner in vulnerable democrat.
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>> before i let you get out of here quickly, showing how diverse the state of iowa is, you were in des moines yesterday where many big name democrats were gathered. how did the momentum there compare to or even the mood compare to what you were seeing and hearing today? >> reporter: these events could not be more different. the event in des moines was aimed at encouraging or demonstrating to particularly hillary clinton but also two other women who might be considering running for president that iowa could be a hospitable place for them to run. iowa has never sent a woman to the federal office or governorship ever, whereas here at the family leader forum, you've seen this parade of hopefuls who are really going to be the other side of the fight that we're going to see and that of course is something we didn't see in 2012. we only had the republican side in 2012 so coming up in 2016 we'll see democrats and republicans. >> casey hunt, ames, iowa, thank
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you so much, casey. >> reporter: thanks, craig. 18 of the 19 u.s. embassies and konconsulates closed this w across the middle east and africa are expected to open tomorrow but the embassy in yemen and the consulate in lahore, pakistan will remain closed for now. what's changed since last week that gave the state department the confidence to reopen those embassies? >> look, we always had the idea that this threat was "emanating" from yemen. now that we see they have powers passed, eid has passed, we've seen the moment we were concerned about pass us by. terrorism is not easy to predict. they could mount attacks weeks later but looking at where the threat was most specific, yes it was most specific in yemen and also happens right now the pakistani taliban are extremely
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active, launching a variety of attacks across northwest pakistan, and the concern of course is that there could be other activities elsewhere targeting u.s. nationals. >> let's talk about yemen again, the embassy will remain closed for now. yemen has turned into a hotbed for terrorism. the u.s. fight on terror. the united states has stepped up drone strikes against suspected al qaeda targets in yemen as well. president obama explained at that news conference yesterday that elements of al qaeda, elements of al qaeda still remain a threat. >> -- for al qaeda is on its heels, has been decimated. but what i also said is al qaeda and other extremists have me s metasthesized into regional
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groups that can pose significant dangers. >> when al qaeda started it was a central organization, bin laden was bringing people to afghanistan setting them up in camps saying you're under our umbrella. after 9/11 the u.s. went into afghanistan and bombed all the camps into dust. it drove al qaeda to the corners of the earth. al qaeda as an organization realized this centralized structure doesn't work. it's much more effective to have the regional franchises. >> cells. >> yes and open spaces, places like mali, yemen, somalia, the iraqi/syrian border, not places any government will ever have a strong degree of control and as a result there is almost guarantee that if al qaeda wants to have some level of presence in those areas, it can sustain it. the goal for the u.s., it shouldn't be trying to eliminate any al qaeda that exists anywhere. it should be trying to marginalize these threats, making them localized as possible and limiting their
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reach so that if they try to do anything, it's in their local territory and can't reach beyond that area. >> there are reports the alerts themselves that they were sparked by an intercept of a conversation between al qaeda leaders. what do we know about how sophisticated al qaeda's communications are now, versus how sophisticated they were? >> well, look, i think first of all you have to be careful to underestimate the way al qaeda communicates. there's been this talk about caves, people in caves. that's not realistic. we know for a fact, people that rub al qaeda, they communicate with dsl, isdn computer speed, the same level of internet access that we do. they have websites. we have encryption. they have internet forums. they have their own channels on the internet where they regularly have live question and answer sessions with senior al qaeda leaders. you can ask them open questions and they actually live speak to you. so if there's any question about whether or not al qaeda can communicate openly on the internet, yes, they can.
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better question is, to what degree do u.s. intelligence agencies have a handle on that, and to what degree are we able to look into those conversations that al qaeda itself thinks are on the secret side or on the protected side. >> nbc terrorism analyst evan kohlmann always appreciate your insight. coming up new clues in a massive manhunt, how police are closing in on the man who allegedly kidnapped a teener and murdered her family. federal funding expires in two months. hear the president's harsh words for republicans who many of whom are busy fighting obama school. and shaq to school, why the nba greet and his mom are teaming up with the boys and girls club to help students get ready. i spent time talking to shaq and his mom. you're watching msnbc. nd to payr bill, and he forgot. you have the it card and it's your first time missing a payment, so there's no late fee. really? yep! so is your husband off the hook? no. he went out for milk last week and came back with a puppy.
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the justice department could soon announce new drug sentencing guidelines, almost half of the more than 200,000 people serving time in federal prisons are serving time on drug charges. this is what attorney general eric holder told "npr" recently. >> i think there are too many people in jail for too long, and for not necessarily good reasons. >> a review of sentencing guidelines comes at a time when states and the federal government are debating whether to essentially legalize marijuana. right now two states, colorado and washington state, allow personal possession of pot. 20 states allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes including the district of columbia. retired general barry mccaffrey was the nation's drug czar under president clinton and also an msnbc ablist. clinton yates, columnist for "the washington post" and
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jaymon shivley, former microsoft executive planning a national chain of pot stores. general i'll start with you, we'll go by rank. is legalization at this point in this country, is it essentially inevitable? >> well i think we need a new debate and we're going to get one and there are some things a lot of people would agree on. there's way too many people behind bars, 2.1 million americans. no one should get arrested, prosecuted and put behind bars for pot. however, craig, if i can just assert, look forward and get a copy of a great book coming out called "reefer sanity" dr. kevin sebett, brilliant young acade c academic, lots of experience. he'll attempt to get us talking in a new way about marijuana where it doesn't have to be either legalization or incarceration. there's a more sensible way to go about this. >> decriminalization? >> i think by watty it's
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essentially already happened. it's just about impossible where you are or i am to walk out of one of these studios smoking a dubee, get arrested, prosecuted and put behind bars for personal possession of pot. that's really not the problem. the medical marijuana issue, we got this brilliant dr. sanjay gupta talking about potential medical uses of marijuana. by the way you can already get marinol, fda approved marijuana in a pill form, thc. we need a new debate. we clearly don't want increasing numbers of adolescents, drivers or eye surgeons smoking dope. >> clinton, even though marijuana has become more easily available as the general just pointed out, use itself has remained fairly steady since the '80s. there's a new gallonon poll found 38% of americans, 38% say they have used marijuana.
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back in 1985 that number was about 33% who said they'd recently used pot. where you are, d.c.'s first medical marijuana dispensecy, i understand opened last week just a few blocks from the capitol and the general just mentioned we should note he was on the short list at one point to actually become surgeon general in this country. he now supports medical use of marijuana. could that lead, could all of those things lead to a more, to more of an institutional acceptance in washington? >> i think that's going to be difficult, but just to clear something up for what the gentleman said earlier, if you're walking on the streets smoking a dubee, sure you might not run into that many problems but if you're a brother on the corner smoking a blunt you're going to have huge problems. there's a dispar aitd amount of arrests existing for black people versus white people in arrest for the drug. that's where decriminalization becomes a necessary factor. i don't think full legalization makes sense because once you
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decriminalize especially as a lot of states are doing up to an ounce you're effectively saying any casual user can use as much as they want without a problem. full legalization you're talking about revamping the way the government gets involved and i don't think that's where we are as a country. >> clinton, how long do you think it takes before we get to that point as a country or do you think america ever gets to that point and also -- go ahead. >> listen, whatever amount of time it takes i don't necessarily know that's something we want to do. you look at the things that are legal, tobacco and in terms of alcohol you could presumably say that there's already a major overuse problem with those anyways, so do we really need to get to the point where marijuana as it being sort of, you know, non-taboo is really necessary for it to be fully legal? i don't know. it is where it is right now. i think people understand it's not that big of a deal. once you fully legalize something you put the wheels in motion for an overdrive that's not necessary. >> jamie, let me come to you. i'm glad you to carve out time
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for us saturday. you are looking to create essentially a marijuana brand and a marijuana business. you may have some state laws on your side, but federal law still classifies pot as a schedule one substance along with heroin, along with cocaine. as a businessman, how do you get around the fact that your product is illegal? >> yes. no, that's a great question, craig. first of all, what determines what the federal government actually does in terms of prosecution is not so much determined by what's written on the laws, but rather by policy, and in this regard the obama administration has been remarkably consistent on policy. its policy has been essentially go after the bad guys. go after the folks who are either selling it too close to schools or who are laundering money or who are evating taxes or doing any one of a number of things that everyone agrees is wrong. >> not the 14-year-old black kid smoking pot on the corner in northeast d.c., right, clinton? >> well -- >> good call, craig.
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>> yes, exactly. >> general, i want to come back to you. more than 8 million pot possession arrests between 2001 and 2010. that's a bust about every 37 seconds. we did the math. many young americans especially black kids like clinton just pointed out, many black kids are left with felony records that dramatically effect the rest of their lives, that dramatically effect their job prospects specifically. african-americans nearly four times as likely as whites to be busted for pot possession. does the punishment itself fit the crime? >> well again i think we do need to think carefully about policies. we don't want people behind bars to include as addicts. as a general statement, we don't want meth or heroin addicts behind bars. we want them in treatment. let me reset the debate, though. 6.6% of americans were past year users of marijuana.
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around 50% of the country used alcohol, so this is not a widespread drug of abuse in america. we don't want it to become one. so i think the other statement's a good one. do we really want full legalization? probably not. do we want black kids disproportionately arrested because they got stopped and searched and found marijuana? of course not. we just need sensible public policy. >> clinton another part of this that doesn't get talked about as much is the shear cost of this, of the drug war in this country. there was an aclu study basically they concluded that $3.5 billion, $3.5 billion, that's the amount of money that's spent annually enforcing marijuana laws in america. is it worth the money? >> no. you don't have to be, you know, a financial wiz to understand how large that number you stated is. think about that, billion, whenever you use that word in the context of trying to defend something most people understand is basically simply a casual
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vice. it doesn't make sense. it is too expensive to constantly deal with this in our law system. it's something that needs to go away. >> jamie i'll end with you because there are a lot of folks who suspect it will eventually be guys like yourself. the power of the marketplace ultimately determining whether marijuana is legalized or decriminalized even more. what say you to that? >> the power of the marketplace is certainly a very powerful force in this country but it's much more the will of the people and the people are becoming increasingly educated about the facts of cannabis, and the facts are very clear. what's causing the vast majority of the harm is not the cannabis itself but it is the policy of prohibition of cannabis which is causing all of these arrests, all of these senseless incarcerations. over 80,000 people dead in mexico because of the drug war, another 26,000 disappeared. numerous financial costs as clinton correctly pointed out. the costs are absolutely
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unbearable, and the harm that's being caused by prohibition vastly exceeds any harms that we're seeking to prevent. the harms to prevent the harms caused by cannabis we need to look no further than portugal or holland. portugal has 12 years and holland's case has 25 years, demonstrating if you separate the soft drugs from the hard drugs and focus on reducing harm and reducing youth usage, those efforts are successful, so they have the best of both worlds, not incarcerating people, not spending billions of dollars and there is lower youth usage, lower misuse and lower drug addiction, everyone benefits. >> craig could i add one last comment? >> ten seconds, general. >> for the parents and school teachers and coaches, one out of six kids, adolescents who starts using marijuana is going to end up with a substance abuse problem. if you're a mom or dad or home room teacher don't you dare fall for this mularkey.
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>> is that the qualification? >> i'm saying there is no question in our mind thated alent aadolescents who drink beer, use ecstasy end one lifelong addictions. >> jamie i saw you shaking your head, ten seconds to respond. >> exactly. so it's actually -- >> ten seconds. >> pharmacologically and physically proven there is no connection between cannabis and harder drugs. what creates the connection is exactly prohibition because it's the prohibition that forces these young people into an environment, into a subculture where they're buying on the black market and buying on the black market they've got access to the harder drugs. what holland has done is separate the soft from the hard and that's what we need to do here in the united states, separate the two. >> we're going to leave it there. you guys come back, i want to continue this conversation at some point. general, thank you, and thank you also general for the book recommendation as well, clinton yates and jamie, we'll be right back. ♪
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it's back to school season and to help out kids and parents, the boys and girls club of america has enlisted the help of a very famous alum. former nba star shaquille o'neal. i spoke with shaq and his mom, lucille o'neal. shaq, tell us about the wake-up call and how you got involved with boys and girls clubs >> well my mother and i are both alum of the boys and girls club. for me it's a special place. growing up you know, mom didn't have money for babysitters but she worked, my father worked, and her instructions were, go to the boys and girls club, stay there until i get back. now once i got inside i felt safe. i was able to do my homework, keep up on my studies, able to play basketball, i was able to sit there and dream so for me that's a special place. we're issuing a wake-up call,
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teaming up with jcpenney and urging kids and parents to focus on education. education is very, very important and a lot of people ask me how come i went back and got my bachelors and masters, and doctorate, one because i promised my mother and two because it's very important. >> a lot of the boys and girls clubs the lions share is mentoring. as we look at some of the scandals embrailling certain athletes right now, we won't name names but specifically in major league baseball, what lessonning do you think can be learned? >> i do believe that when positive seeds are planted and when i say positive seeds, i'm back to talking about reinforcement, the things that we learn at home and the values that are instilled in our young people while they're young, that carries on into their adult life. everybody can make a mistake and we know that. however, the boys and girls club is very, very careful about the things that they put into the
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lives of our children. great futures start here. so they're getting a head start with their relationship, the boys and girls club, as well as having the families to reinforce all those messages. >> for me, i always talk about the term dreamful attraction. for me it was a place where i created my character. i knew how to go in and compete, i knew how to work everybody. i knew that i could become whatever i wanted to become. i would just sometimes sit in corners and just, hey, i wish i could be like ll cool j or hey i wish i could be like kareem abdul jabbar. hey that guy is wearing a bow tie, he's a doctor, wish i could be a doctor. positive things get done. >> shaq, last question, there's been a lot of talk in this country about the way forward for young, black men, in the wake of the george zimmerman verdict. what should we be doing right now in america that we're not doing for young, black men
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specifically? >> well, i mean i don't want to just put it all on young african-american men but i just think we need more leaders to plant more seeds so that these guys can follow them. i read the quote you're not a great leader unless you have great followers and great listeners. we need to teach our young brothers and sisters to be leaders and not followers. times are hard these days. people are losing their houses right now, record-breaking numbers so times are hard, but we just need, you know, we need to stay together, just keep being positive and keep doing the right thing. luckily i was raised in a household where we don't make everything black and white all the time. >> and then i don't mean to cut you off but for more information on this program, we invite to you go to www.greatfutures.org for more information. >> thank you. >> you're welcome.
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>> that's a good spot to leave it. shaq, lucille, thank you both. >> all right, thank you. up next, the fight for $15, why low wage workers are rising up demanding a paycheck they can actually live on. you're watching msnbc. human" ] humans. even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems. namely, other humans. which is why at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at libertymutual.com. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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♪ the good ♪ ol'days... when the yes but sometimes if we coui eat as i used tod! my digestive system gets out of whack. it's not easy keeping it working as it should. it's easy if you enjoy an activia everyday. activia helps regulate your digestive system. put a smile back in your day! ♪ activia dannon ♪ the search intensifies out west for that missing san diego teenager. hannah anderson. right now investigators are closing in on a remote area in idaho called river of no return wilderness. they say 40-year-old james dimaggio's abandoned car was found near that area. eyewitnesses saw dimaggio and anderson in the area as well. authorities believe dimaggio killed the teenager's mother and her younger brother before abducting her monday. we're expecting an update on the manhunt coming at the top of the hour. welcome back to msnbc. i'm craig melvin.
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with apologies to shakespeare for low wage earners in this country this has been their summer of discontent. fast food workers have walked off the job to protest among other things working conditions, low pay and for the right to join a union. there are about 4 million food service workers currently in the united states and they are among the lowest paying jobs in the country. i want to bring in our labor expert, his name is mike elk. he's on the labor beat for "in these times" magazine. mike always good to see you. >> always good to see you, too, buddy. >> fast food workers, $8.72 an hour, that's what they make. it's actually above the minimum wage in america. what are these workers looking for specifically? >> well i think these workers many of them are demanding $15 an hour. that would put them at a little over $24,000 a year. and more than that, they're demanding the right to organize without fear of retaliation. one out of three union drives
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are fired for trying to organize a union and fast food chains like mcdonald's fire and dismiss. >> $15 an hour, we're talking about mcdonald's here but it's not just mcdonald's, it's lots of other fast food restaurants in america as well, can they afford $15 an hour? >> i was just reading a bloomberg news piece when i came over mcdonald's is repurchasing so much of its own stock shares it's spending $14,000 a year just to repurchase stock shares. they have a lot of extra cash lying around. the profits are going through the roof, the ceo's pay doubled in the last couple of years. they have the money to do it. the fact is they want to make folks work as little as possible so they can make as much money as possible. >> what about low wage earners in low-end retail and other service sector jobs as well? the fast food worker actions,
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are they having an impact there? >> we're certainly seeing a number of strikes at walmarts and concession stands and the smithsonian museum here in washington, d.c., and what's really interesting about this is that these workers that are going on strike aren't members of a union right now, although many of them are hoping to join a union. the folks using kind of a novel labor law approach which allows non-union workers to strike when they've been retaliated against. so this is pretty interesting. this is new ground and i think it's drawing a lot more attention than sort of a lot of liberals and lefty types have been talking about this for years now that workers are actually out in the streets reclaiming themselves, saying that science there, i am a man. >> mike, what's different this time? the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, hasn't been raised since 2011. what is the impetus behind this revolt? >> i think it's two things, one, a number of big unions decided to pump a lot of money into
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organizing fast food workers. a lot of people have said fast food workers can't be organized, there's too much turnover and too much fear because they make so little money. lot of unions are saying let's do it, sending union organizers and the other thing that's affecting things is obama care. because full time workers have to get health insurance, many fast food industries are cutting workers' wages down to part-time and even though some of them are working 38 hours a week, it's still not enough money to raise a family. >> we'll talk about that right now. thank you, mike elk, "in these times" always appreciate you, sir. let's get to the saturday brain trust. jimmy williams, msnbc contributor, also former economic policy adviser to senator dic durbin, christie niedermayer, author of "straight scoop politics" blog and amy holmes is back, anchor at "ed blaze" who always generates a significant number of tweets and facebook posts any time we have her on. >> i aim to deliver, craig. >> oh, boy, do you ever. jimmy, let me start with you, as
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we just heard from mike elk, most fast food workers, most earn slightly more than the minimum wage but 19% of workers in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes food workers, earn at or below the minimum wage. that's about 3.5 million people. what more or should the government even be doing more to improve conditions, to improve wages for low wage earners? >> it's not like corporate america is not sitting on a ton of profit. we know that's the case. the question is, is can the government -- by the way it's not the government's job to "create jobs" and yes i'm a democrat saying that. it's government's job to create incentives for american businesses to do so and that's what i think is lacking here. there is this disconnect between our federal system of government, republicans and democrats in congress, and the white house, trying to incentivize america's corporations like mcdonald's, walmart, target, et cetera, et
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cetera, and small businesses to give them incentives to hire higher wage earners and people and workers. that would make a lot of sense. i'm not sure how you do that except tax incentives and that would run contrary to tax simplification but something that might be worth trying. >> christine there's a lot of talk with regards to the new economy, higher than average unemployment over the long-term, there's a lot of talk about whether this is going to be the new normal. this current spat for lack of a better description between corporations and workers, is it different this time or is this just another chapter in what seems to be a neverending story? >> the difficulty you have is that there is some recovery, but there seems to be a jobless recovery and that's what i think a lot of people are complaining about and the difficulty you raise a good point in terms of the relationship between corporations and employees, a lot as jimmy said there's a
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reluctance among corporations to hire and to hire the higher wage workers because they're not sure what's going to happen in washington. at bow ma h president obama has had a plethora of incentives, a jobs bill that hasn't been acted upon. both he and the republicans have count counterveiling tax programs they want to deal with and because of the uncertainty, a lot of corporations don't want to hire new workers. >> amy, mooike elk mentioned president obama lashed out at opponents of his health care overhaul. let's listen to what he said and i want to talk to but it on the other side. here it is. >> i think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail, their number one priority. >> is obama care the gop's great white whale? do they think they can repeal the law or is it just incessant
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pandering? >> they're standing up for the majority of americans who don't like obama care, and the house we've seen has voted i think almost 40 times to repeal it. >> that doesn't mean the average american doesn't like it. >> well the senate's controlled by democrats and obviously with president obama and the white house he's not going to repeal his own bill, but i am so glad that your labor economist, mike, mentioned obama care and how that is disincentivizining employers to providing health care and lowers wages. you're going to be nervous about hiring that 50th employee because you have to offer more expensive health care,by ma care has built into it all of these health care provisions that make health care more expensive or health insurance rather so that small employer is going to be nervous about hiring and also going to be looking at as mike mentioned cutting hours so they don't have to comply with the new, expensive new program. >> jimmy you're chomping at the bit and chris teen is as well.
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we have to take a quick break. the brain trust will come back in a few moments. first defending the dream, rapper and activist will join us to talk about the sleepover and the sit-in at the florida governor's office. he's next, right here on msnbc. with the spark miles card from capital one, bjorn earns unlimited rewards for his small business. take these bags to room 12 please. [ garth ] bjorn's small business earns double miles on every purchase every day. produce delivery. [ bjorn ] just put it on my spark card. [ garth ] why settle for less? ahh, oh! [ garth ] great businesses deserve unlimited rewards. here's your wake up call. [ male announcer ] get the spark business card from capital one and earn unlimited rewards. choose double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase every day. what's in your wallet? [ crows ] now where's the snooze button?
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and see for yourself. in the footsteps of harry bell lafonte and jesse jackson, a rapper is opposing the florida state capitol's state your ground law. the artist said the group was still ready to "rise and shine." talib kweli joins me live from florida. good to see you, sir. >> how are you doing, craig? >> what do you hope to accomplish with this sit-in? >> i want to correct the
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statement about dream defenders, the opposition to stand your ground is part of their platform but your platform is three-fold, repealing stand your ground is one of it. also repealing zero tolerance, which is sending young people especially disproportionately young people, black and brown people straight from schools to prison, you have the school-to-prison pipeline and creating more dialogue between police departments and local communities so that there's less racial profiling. stand your ground wasn't used in the is imzimmerman trial but is an important part of their program. >> what drew you to florida's capital? >> i did a meeting with brother harry bellafonte with a few months ago with like-minded artists and encouraged us to make music and be more represented in the struggle, harry bellafonte put me onto the dream defenders. i saw fill imagnew on twitter looked like me, snap back on, tattoos but he was standing up there and said something very important. he said we're not here
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protesting. i want people to be clear about that with dream defenders, we're not here protesting, not here demonstrating, not trying to retry george zimmerman or get in a time machine and go back in the past. this is about a movement forward. they have the trayvon martin act that they came up with to support what the naacp and trayvon martin's family is doing with trayvon's law, and it's about trying to push forward that legislation. when i see young people putting their bodies and their lives on the line to do that i feel it's my obligation not just as an artist but human being as a man to support this. >> you posted on your blog after you stated in florida's capitol building all night thursday. i want to read for our audience what you posted. "online activism is only a tool for actual activism because if it doesn't exist in real life, it doesn't really exist. this is the lesson of the black power and civil rights movement, this slt lethe lesson of the ar spring. the dreamers have the experience of hindsight and the experience
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of those who have done this before to study. they are cherry picking the best parts of each movement to create an unstoppable force." how can people or other groups doing similar things, if they can't join them physically, how can they be a part of the movement? >> with dream defenders in particular www.dreamdefenders.org you can donate. if you're a person of influence on twitter or social networks, take pictures, tweet, just send them love but a lot of people in our communities, a lot of young black people are critical, criticizing movement and organizing because they see it as a backwards way to approach things. they're like my cousin just got shot, no one's standing up for him, people bring up the murder rate in chicago and what's going on there and think it's hypocritical to pick or choose trayvon martin over those other people. you know what i say to those people? it is hypocritical if that's all that you're doing and in this age when you can google anything, look up anything,
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people are lazy and people think just because they don't see activism happening that it doesn't exist. because they see activism bubbling up around trayvon martin that's the only time it exists. mylife, my whole career spent with activists in the struggle, do this type of work. there are all types of organizations from kevin powell who went down there to malcolm x's grassroots movement. we've done a lot of activist work. so you have to pay attention. if you're like an ostrich with your head in the sand, you can't speak about what's going on. you have to invest in your communal and in yourself. >> thank you so much. i do appreciate you being here. i want to talk about your hat as well. >> you like that, allow? >> we're going to come back with the brain trust after this. 4 cs 7 socks and 6 weeks of sleep but one thing you don't want to lose is any more teeth. if you wear a partial, you are almost twice as likely to lose your supporting teeth.
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the brain trust is back. a few minutes ago, amy was
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talking about the president's comments and talking about our labor reporter and what he was saying about obamacare. i wanted to give you an opportunity to respond. >> i was looking on the handy dandy smartphone. and a report came out last year that said over half minimum wage workers are people under 25. last time i checked, under obamacare, they can still be on their parent' health care so i'm not really buying this idea that all these people who make the minimum wage if they start working 40 hours a week and make the living wage, that they would be shunted out of their jobs, et cetera, et cetera, and that mcdonald's won't hire them. i don't buy it. to me it doesn't make sense. >> you make a really good point about the minimum wage and who is earning it. it does tend to be people who are teenagers. >> well, people un26. >> under the age of 26. college students and teenagers, summer workers, people working
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in a more seasonal way. what we know with the labor market is that it is supply and demand. in fact mcdonald's is paying more than minimum wage because that's what they have to pay to get people to come and work there. >> if you don't stop her -- >> i know, i know. >> let me jump in. a couple of quick things. i'm not the expert on the smart employ yeefl there's been about 40 votes on it in the house and it is really semiantics. obamacare isn't going away. sure, there will be administrative problems that need to be resolved as this gets implemented but you have 30 million americans with no health insurance. and as jimmy said, as the president said yesterday at his press conference, there's not going to be perfect legislation on immigration or other issues but you have to move forward. >> two things that have struck me. regardless of the politics. regardless of your politics, what i have not heard from the
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right is any sort of legitimate substantive replacement for obamacare. and more than that, three of four votes? that's a statement. 40 votes is an obnoxious waste of time. >> obnoxious? >> whatever your politics. >> by the way, mentioned moving forward. it is the obama administration that is putting a delay on obamacare because max baucus, senate democrat, from montana said this is a train wreck. and we have harry reid saying this was one step toward single payer. that's the end. >> 15 seconds, 15 seconds, you get the last word because you're from south carolina. go. >> i don't understand why severals are so upset. chief roberts said it was okay. >> we'll have to leave it there. we'll to have get you guys back. i do enjoy you so much. msnbc contributor jimmy williams, christine from the secretary of state scoop politics blog and amy holmes
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from the blaze. feel free to send us your tweets and your facebook posts. i'll be back tomorrow at 3:00 eastern time. first, "disrupt with karen finney." she was chomping at the bit. have a great saturday afternoon. the new guy is loaded with protein! i'll believe it when i--- [ both ] oooooh... [ female announcer ] as you get older, protein is an important part of staying active and strong. ensure high protein... fifty percent of your daily value of protein. low fat and five grams of sugars. [ major nutrition ] ensure! nutrition in charge!
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